Conwy County Borough Council is increasing its support of Wales Rally GB and will become the official 'Host County' for this year's WRC finale, it has been announced.
The move comes after the success of last November's revitalised Wales Rally GB following a move to a new home in north Wales.
As in 2013, Conwy County will host the ceremonial start and ceremonial finish as well as a number of the timed sections in the Clocaenog Forest where the legendary event will be won or lost. Sunday morning's family-friendly RallyFest at Kinmel Park – another of 2013's new crowd-pleasers – is also located within the county's borders.
Significant changes have been made for 2014, however, largely to cater for escalating numbers of fans wanting to see the world's top rally drivers in spectacular action.
With this in mind, having now outgrown the quayside in Conwy, Thursday evening's ceremonial start has switched to Eirias Stadium, one of the cornerstones of the £52m Bay Life regeneration of Colwyn Bay. Eirias is a major events centre in north Wales with a capacity for up to 15,000 spectators. Having hosted major sporting events and music concerts in recent months, the arrival of the globetrotting WRC will further demonstrate the venue's versatility.
The schedule also now includes four new tests in the county's Alwen and Brenig Forests. These are staged on Sunday prior to the ceremonial finish, which, as last year, will be in Llandudno. The return to Mostyn Street for the closing ceremony will build on the tremendous atmosphere generated 12 months ago when 15,000 spectators flooded into the historic resort.
“Conwy County Borough Council played a very significant role in the creation of last year's success,” said Ben Taylor, managing director of Wales Rally GB. "The Council has a clear and visionary strategy regarding hosting major events and it is a great endorsement of the value of this event to the region that Conwy has increased its commitment to Wales Rally GB by becoming the Host County. This is great news for rally fans, for the local population and importantly for local businesses who will share in the economic benefits of the visitors to the area in November.”
“We're delighted to be the Host County this year,” added Councillor Graham Rees, Portfolio Holder for Tourism, Marketing and Leisure. “Wales Rally GB will showcase across the world what Conwy County has to offer, and spectators coming to enjoy the event will mean a valuable boost to the local economy. This year we're excited about bringing the ceremonial start to Colwyn Bay which will provide a new experience for Rally goers – accommodating thousands and thousands of fans in the spectacular setting of the £6.5m Eirias Stadium for a new look event and the chance to see the vehicles on display. And Llandudno will once again provide a wonderful backdrop to the Ceremonial Finish”.
Access to both the ceremonial start at Eirias Stadium and the finish in Llandudno is free – as is admittance to the Service Park in Deeside.
Tickets for all the competitive special stages are available via either the official website at www.walesrallygb.com
or the ticket hotline on 0844 847 2251.